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4 Things to Consider Before Selecting a Fulfillment Company

by Administrator30. September 2014 15:57

4 Things to Consider Before Selecting a Fulfillment Company | The Dependable CompaniesThird party logistics (3PL) companies can provide many valuable services that create expansion opportunities for businesses. Particularly for E-commerce, fulfillment services can make a significant difference in the ability of a company to expand without significant financial growing pains.There are many elements to consider before signing a contract with a 3PL provider. It is important to evaluate what fees the 3PL charges, how they handle shipping and receiving, and customer returns, and what technology they use.

Fees

Most 3PLs have fees for shipping, services, and storage. These fees will usually be based on the volume that your business ships, services provided such as account management and software, and how much space your product needs for storage. If your products require assembly, it could make a difference in the price of your monthly storage fees.

Shipping and Receiving

You will want to know how the 3PL handles wholesale orders, what percentage of the shipments go to wholesalers, and whether orders shipped to wholesalers in cases, boxes, or pallets. Knowing the cut-off time for same-day shipping is another factor that can affect your business. Not all companies provide international shipping and receiving, so it is good to ask what the policies are and make sure the company is familiar with the ins and outs of the process.  

Customer Returns

Unfortunately, returns are an inevitable part of business. It may not make sense for you to have the product returned to the fulfillment center, depending on the size of your business and your economic situation. It is important to learn how the 3PL handles customer returns, what their personal error rate is, how they fix things, and if there are additional storage fees on returned materials. 

Technology 

There are many factors to consider when it comes to technology. First you will want to know that the company has current software that integrates your shopping cart with their back-end and other E-commerce marketplaces and whether or not the software is cloud based. It is also helpful to know how many clients the company has on the same cart and what the infrastructure is. 

Fulfillment services can be an important piece of the expansion puzzle for companies in the E-commerce marketplace.

 

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3PL | Blog | Warehousing and Distribution

West Coast Shipping is Easier With a Southern California LTL Carrier

by Administrator30. September 2014 14:08
West Coast Shipping is Easier With a Southern California LTL Carrier | The Dependable Companies
 
 
To stay competitive in West Coast markets, it is important to make shipping choices that get the most for your time and money. A southern California less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier can offer a variety of shipping services to streamline your supply chain. When you want a company that is knowledgeable about and connected to your West Coast market, consider a southern California LTL freight carrier.
 
The Local Advantage
 
An LTL carrier that is specifically concerned with the southern California region will be particularly concerned with service. Two major benefits of a quality LTL will be a dedicated fleet for the area, and terminals that are spread out conveniently throughout the region. 
 
Consolidated Service
 
Sometimes a drawback to LTL freight is the possibility of delays due to the need to make multiple deliveries. An LTL carrier sensitive to the demands of transport can effectively manage a variety of shipping logistics to minimize travel time and streamline delivery. 
 
More Than Just Point A to Point B
 
Typical services will include online tracing and real-time tracking with handheld scanners, freight consolidation, pool distribution and storage trailer rental when and if you need it. Southern California LTL carriers may also assist with reverse and aftermarket logistics. These cover a range of activities that involve your product after the point of sale, including returns, the necessary destruction of product, resale, disposal and recycling. 
 
Environmentally Friendly
 
A reputable LTL freight company knows that going green is not just good for the planet, it is also good for business. A company that is aware of its fuel consumption is motivated to find the most efficient ways to transport goods by ground, with the least amount of waste. Look for companies that are EPA compliant, and that incorporate alternative energy like solar power in their terminals and offices. 
 
Well-Connected
 
A good southern California LTL freight company will be able to connect to shipping services across the nation, providing fast and reliable product transport no matter the distance.
 
 
 
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Today's Top Logistics Trends

by Administrator26. September 2014 15:59

Today's Top Logistics Trends | The Dependable Companies

 

In the realm of transportation and logistics services, technological updates and perpetually streamlined processes help drive trends in the industry. Trends, in turn, help elevate the industry as competitors race to offer new or upgraded services. Clients are the ultimate beneficiaries in the logistical arms race. Today’s top logistics trends include: wireless upgrades, multi-channel fulfillment, faster delivery, and eco-friendly practices.

Transportation services as a whole are slowly evolving from manual fax-based systems to wireless mobile systems that can be incorporated in many ways. Wireless proof of delivery is now an option for trucks, as are wireless tracking and tracing solutions that will help improve monitoring and efficiency. On handheld devices drivers can track and report proof of delivery as it is delivered. Technological innovations are also bringing apps for mobile devices designed specifically for the logistics and transportation industry. 

Another logistics trend is multi-channel fulfillment. Where once a customer had to choose between either buying something in person or buying it online for delivery, an increasing number of larger retailers are giving customers an option. The customer can buy something online and either have it delivered or go to the store in person for pick up. This trend is popular due to the convenience for the customer, but it also requires an advanced logistics system that can coordinate multiple delivery options seamlessly.

With the explosive growth of E-commerce and ever more companies seeking a competitive edge, companies that offer faster delivery is a perpetual trend. Some experts predict that by 2025 distribution centers should be able to support same day deliveries regularly. In the interim, a race to be the fastest delivery continues.

Finally, adopting increasingly eco-friendly practices is a growing trend in today’s logistics industry. Companies can participate in several green freight initiatives, partner with EPA’s SmartWay Transport Program, and employ a variety of pollution and energy saving practices such as using liquid natural gas powered tractors, electric powered forklifts, solar energy and high efficiency lighting to power warehouses and trucking terminals, recycling programs, and using anti-idling devices on trucks.

These are today’s top logistics trends, and soon enough they too will become the norm and the field of logistics will continue to evolve.

 

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5 Areas of Logistics Trucking Excellence

by Administrator22. September 2014 10:32

5 Areas of Logistics Trucking Excellence | The Dependable Companies

 

As a growing number of businesses have come to recognize the many advantages to working with LTL (less than truckload) shipping providers, the competition to provide the best services at competitive rates has become fierce. In order to prove their services to customers, logistics trucking companies often work to excel in five areas.

Business owners know that there is truth to the saying, “Time is money.” Because of this on-time delivery of goods is one of the top areas in which trucking companies work to excel. The timely delivery of goods is managed through careful coordination of pick-up and delivery schedule, carriers, and warehousing.

Another crucial area of focus is the affordability of the service. Competitive pricing will attract customers with profitable business. Pricing may be influenced by many factors, such as weight, the classification of the freight, distance, density, base rates, and minimum charges.

An efficient use of information technology also sets some logistics trucking companies apart from the rest. While trucking companies may or may not appreciate the advantages of Internet communication and interactions, most business owners do. It should not be surprising that those trucking companies that utilize information technology excel in other areas as well.

Customer service is another crucial area that customers use to determine which trucking companies to use. The ability of staff members to handle schedule changes or to answer customer questions intelligently is critical to survival in the transportation industry. Effective customer service may be an indication of how well the company interacts with carriers and other transportation parties.

Finally, the quality of equipment and operations that trucking companies use can affect the quality of service that the company delivers. It just makes sense that if a transportation company skimps on the maintenance of their vehicles, then timely deliveries and protection of the products being transported will suffer. The same logical can be applied to warehouse operations and the quality of other equipment.

As you work to determine the best logistics trucking companies to use for the transportation of your goods, keep these five points in mind. Choose those companies that are serious about excelling in their work.

 

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Thank You, Freight Management!

by Administrator22. September 2014 10:18

Thank You, Freight Management! | The Dependable Companies


The responsibilities associated with freight management are many, and they are intense. With conditions changing daily, both within your company and around the globe, your freight manager must be not only detail-oriented and constantly informed, but also an effective communicator and leader. If yours is a larger company that engages in international shipping, the complexities of your supply chain multiply exponentially. The freight manager is on the front lines of the constantly fluctuation mission to keep the flow of your products and supplies smooth, fast, and efficient.

Freight management demands the ability to think on one's feet. Bad weather, new regulations, back-ordered products or supplies, special customer requests, changes in air or truck routes; you never know what new challenge lay ahead. Your freight manager must be well versed in the status of all available methods of delivery, including road, rail, air, and possibly ocean freight as well. This manager must also remain in frequent contact with other company department heads to make sure there are no complications on the supply end, such as shortages or other issues. 

There is also a variety of figures and statistics this manager needs to keep straight. Every single day, your freight manager keeps track of delivery scheduling, quantities inventory being shipped, and all associated costs, rates and fees. These include weight charges, shipping tariffs, storage rates, and so on. There may be foreign currencies to contend with, and of course different time zones. There will be trade-offs to be decided upon in keeping the supply chain as reasonable as possible while maintaining the highest performance and reliability of getting your company's wares in the hands of consumers.

When problems arise, rates change, shortages occur, perhaps weather conditions make transport unfeasible, the job of freight management becomes a logistical nightmare. The manager at the helm of this process must keep a cool head under pressure and always have a Plan B to fall back on. Your freight manager might very well be the most important member of your team.


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3 Things to Look for When Choosing Regional LTL Carriers

by Administrator22. September 2014 09:49

3 Things to Look for When Choosing Regional LTL Carriers | The Dependable Companies

 

As a business of any size, if you are shipping out products, it is crucial that you use regional LTL carriers who are dependable and can be relied upon to get your products shipped to your customers in a timely manner for a great value. Here are three considerations you should make when looking for a supply chain partner to work with.

Keep a Close Eye on Transit Times

The first thing you are likely going to think about is how long your products are going to be in transit. Perhaps you have time sensitive products that you cannot afford to have sit on a truck for very long. Maybe you have guaranteed your consumers that their products would be delivered within a certain timeframe. Regardless, transit time is one of the first things you need to think about. Check each of the regional LTL carriers whether they can provide overnight or two-day delivery and what areas these shipping options will cover.

Ability to Interact Online

As a business owner, you are probably busy filling orders, taking orders, talking to suppliers or distributors, and otherwise taking care of your business. The ability to interact with your LTL carrier online may take some of the complications out of the process. Although not the primary or most important consideration, being able to interact with your shipping company online may make certain business processes much more seamless and all around easier. It might be a lot easier to you to interact with customer service online than to spend time on the phone when you could be using the phone for other things.

Determine the Carrier’s Adaptability

As important as transit time is when you are having items shipped to customers, it is also very important that regional LTL carriers are able to adapt to changes that come in unexpectedly. Some carriers will permit last minute changes and roll with the punches when you require late night pickups or drop-offs. Check with each company to determine how they adjust in these situations.

 

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LTL Carrier: Reduce Shipping Costs & Frustration

by Administrator18. September 2014 10:33

LTL Carrier: Reduce Shipping Costs & Frustration | The Dependable Companies

 

For many business owners and managers, one major responsibility is to arrange for the transportation of shipments. Unless that business handles a very large amount of product transportation, the cost of hiring a whole truck and/or trailer can be very high. Even large businesses often find that hiring an entire truck for a limited shipment is not cost effective. A popular solution to this problem is to hire an LTL carrier. LTL, or less than truckload, shipping has several advantages and transportation savings tops the list.

Another important reason for businesses to consider working with an LTL provider is access to better rates, a broader geographical area of service, liftgate service, both commercial and residential services, and expert handling of products. For example, an experienced transportation provider understands how to prevent products from freeze damage and also has contacts with the most competitive parcel carriers. These services may be included in the arranged fee or might be offered at flat rates. Some services are billed according to a weight-based surcharge.

How does an LTL carrier gain these advantages? For one, the carrier moves multiple freight shipments and is able to combine those shipments that are headed for the same destination. This way the costs associated with shipping can be consolidated and each of the businesses needing the shipping pay just a fraction of the total cost. Because the carrier focuses solely on shipping, the management and employees become very familiar with the ins and outs of the shipping business, recognizing good deals and avoiding financial traps.

There are several factors involved in coordinating the efficient delivery of goods. These factors include the organization of orders and destinations, the human component of processing the goods, and the ability to recognize patterns of orders, shipping, and delays. Responding to last minute orders or changes to orders can also influence the efficient delivery of product. When a business tries to handle transportation on top of their other services, the result is often overwhelming and frustrating. An experienced LTL carrier can solve many of those problems, freeing the business owner to focus on their other responsibilities.

 

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Using Container Drayage for Your Shipping Needs

by Administrator18. September 2014 10:21

Using Container Drayage for Your Shipping Needs | The Dependable Companies

 

Container drayage is the process through which items are shipped a short distance, typically in one day.  It is an excellent way to move product from one point to another destination that it is a relatively short distance away.  Drayage can be used to ship items to a store, a facility, or a shipping port for further travel.  The prospect of utilizing drayage is commonplace, but effective.  That is why it is commonplace, after all.

Convenience

Convenience is important to anyone.  Drayage is an incredibly convenient way to ship items.  The items are loaded into a truck and transported, worry free, to a second location.  Trucks are able to go places where other shipping methods, like UPS, are not allowed because of parking restrictions and pedestrians.  Using larger trucks also means that more items can be shipped at once.  This means that you can sent a bunch of items to one location, or fewer items to several locations in one truck.

Simplicity

Drayage has been depended on for over 100 years for its ease and simplicity.  In essence, there is no simpler shipping method than container drayage.  Items are loaded into a container, that container is put on a chassis or trailer, this is then attached to a truck, and the truck drives the container to a destination.  It is that easy.  With something this simple, there are only a very few things that can go wrong.

Speed

In drayage, shipments are generally delivered within a day.  This makes life easier for you because it is easier to keep track of your shipments, allowing you to make sure all of your shipments are correct and on time.  Having the wrong items arrive late is an embarrassing and costly mistake, drayage helps prevent this mistake.

Container drayage is an interesting and attractive options for shipping.  With shipments arriving within a day, there is no shipping method more simple or convenient.  This saves you the money and stress that other shipping methods can cause.

 

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3PL | Blog | Transportation Management

A Freight Forwarding Company's Crucial Role in International Business

by Administrator17. September 2014 15:54

A Freight Forwarding Company's Crucial Role in International Business | The Dependable Companies

A freight forwarding company provides the important services necessary for conducting international import and export. These services may also be provided on a multi-national basis. The company does not move the freight, but it does act as the go-between for the primary client and the chosen transportation providers. International commerce often requires a variety of transportation methods and so there may be many different carriers by air, sea, and land. The freight forwarding service provider manages the coordination between all of those carriers, relieving the client from a task that can be overwhelming.

When working with a reputable freight forwarding company, clients are confident that their products can reach the appropriate destinations according to a set schedule and in good condition. Avoiding late fees, damaged merchandise, and disgruntled customers, the client depends upon the company to protect their business reputation. In addition to customer relationships, the freight forwarder also maintains good relations with the various carriers in order to negotiate competitive pricing and top quality service. There are many services that the forwarder provides that save the client a great deal of time and frustration. Without those services, the client would have to become familiar with many international procedures that might be frustrated by language and cultural barriers.

A freight forwarder works with carriers to determine the most cost effective routes as they consider a variety of bids, the speed of each carrier, and the reliability of each carrier. With several different options at their disposable, the forwarding company can offer their client with multiple estimates and recommendations. Once the client has settled on one of those options, they prepare their freight for shipping and turn the responsibility for transportation over the freight forwarding service provider.

There are some important benefits to working with a freight forwarding company. These include the fact that the company handles related services such as insurance documentation, customs requirements, and clearance. Another benefit is that the forwarder handles the bills of lading, international payment negotiation, and warehousing. Risk assessment, management of risks, and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) paperwork is also handled by the company.

 

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Why a Small LTL Company in CA Will Work Hard for Your Business

by Administrator15. September 2014 13:55

Why a Small LTL Company in CA Will Work Hard for Your Business | The Dependable Companies

 

Shipping is not only for large quantities of items. Sometimes, you need to ship a small amount of items that will not fill an entire truck. For those shipments, less than truckload (LTL) companies are the perfect fit. Finding an excellent LTL company in CA will help fill your small-batch shipping needs. What are the perks of using one of these companies?

Saves Money

By shipping in small quantities, you will save yourself money. You will not have to hire a full truck to pick up and deliver your goods. LTL companies have trucks and drivers that specialize in picking up your small amount of goods and delivering them to their specified locations in a timely and expert manner. They have multiple locations and companies to work for each day, so no one company has to pay for the entire truck, saving everyone money.

Offer Extra Services

An LTL company in CA can offer a wide selection of accessory services in addition to pick up and delivery. They often offer things like liftgate services, residential delivery and pick up, inside delivery, notice of previous delivery, and freeze protection, amongst others. This means that your company will be incredibly well taken care of. They will make sure that you, your goods, and your customers are satisfied with the service received.

Safer for Products

Shipping in small batches is safer for your products. Having all of your items together, typically on a pallet wrapped in shrink wrap, means that they will not be jostled about during delivery. Everything will be held together, preventing any damage. Your products are never safer than when they are shipped in small batches.

Employing an LTL company in CA can save you in the long run. Not only will they save you money in your shipping costs, but they offer extra services that full truckload shipping companies do not offer. This method is also safer for your products, which will save you even more money. Employing an LTL company is a smart move for your company.

 

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